‘People were jumping in the water:’ Shooting scare causes panic at Lake Eola fireworks show in Orlando

Police say there is no evidence of shooting at Fourth of July celebration

ORLANDO, Fla. – A scare prompted by apparent firecrackers thrown into the crowd celebrating the Fourth of July at the Fireworks at the Fountain at Lake Eola in Orlando caused parkgoers to panic and run, with some jumping into the water to seek shelter.

Orlando police said about 12 people were injured while running from the scare, which happened shortly after the fireworks began around 9:45 p.m. Monday.

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Some witnesses said they heard what they believed were gunshots. Police, however, said there was no evidence of a shooting.

“Out of nowhere we saw people running, and then we heard (what we thought were) shots. We heard it. It wasn’t lining up with the fireworks. They were obviously something else,” the witness said.

“People were jumping in the water, people were running toward the buildings,” a woman said.

OPD Chief Deputy Eric Smith says the department does not believe there was an active gunman at Lake Eola July 4 fireworks celebration where crowds could be seen fleeing.

Orlando police later tweeted that there was no shooting and no public safety hazard.

“We believe this was fireworks that were going off in the crowd at the same time the main firework display was going on,” Chief Deputy Eric Smith told News 6. “This caused people to run. They believed there was gunshots. Of course, people started running with everything that’s going on.”

During the chaos, some families were separated. Police said a family reunification area was set up at North Rosalind Avenue and East Robinson Street.

According to police, a lost and found area was set up at the Lake Eola Parks Office at North Eola Drive and East Washington Street.

The scare in Orlando came hours after six people were shot to death at a Fourth of July parade in suburban Chicago. A person of interest was later arrested.



OPD tweeted at 11:32 p.m. that all families at the family reunification center were able to be reunited.

Police said they believe the incident may have started near Pine Street or the bandshell, though the investigation is still in its early stages.

Smith added that police and fire crews are focused on finding and treating anyone who may have been injured during the panic.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer released a statement Tuesday afternoon regarding the scare.

About the Author:

Daniel started with WKMG-TV in 2000 and became the digital content manager in 2009. When he's not working on ClickOrlando.com, Daniel likes to head to the beach or find a sporting event nearby.